Entertaining arcade shooting action, perfect for on-go-gaming; impressive visuals complemented by 3D; good online co-op; and addictive features like skill upgrades
Terrible menus; hurried skills implementation; and not enough online features
The Resident Evil franchise returns genetically engineered to Nintendo with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D.There is no story. There is no slow buildup to scary moments. There’s just high-scoring arcade action with your choice of character and deadly weaponry.
In wake of the absent story, the game contains five sets of time-based missions (plus extras), in which you control your choice of 8 different franchise mainstay characters– such as Chris Redfield, Rebecca Chambers and Albert Wesker– to plow through hordes of the undead and infected. Each mission starts with a time limit, which can then be increased by combo kills or locating time-increase markers. The premise sounds a bit shallow, but once you start shooting out enemies’ knees and then kicking them to the ground for a final blow, you begin to see the entertaining and bloody depth. It also helps the action controls well and responsively, especially with quick access to weapons via the touch screen.
While there are no “boo” moments to freak you out, the old ticker will start pumping with Mercenaries 3D. Hearing and seeing a Chainsaw Majini (an infected dude appropriately wielding a chainsaw and sporting a burlap sack) come after you will whiten your knuckles. Plus, the counting timer adds a bit more sweat to the suspenseful game. That’s not to say this 3DS title is a fright fest– it’s not– but there are still plenty of instances to get you unnerved.
Impressive visuals heighten the overall atmosphere, with character models featuring tons of detail and looking like assets pulled from a mix of Wii and 360/PS3 games. (This makes sense considering the game remixes Mercenaries characters and levels from Resident Evil 4 [for GameCube, PS2 and Wii] and Resident Evil 5 [for PS3, 360 and PC]). The 3D also complements the visual presentation. Each character pops out of the screen in 3D, allowing for better spatial differentiation between the player and the infected. And the enemies appear frightening and lifelike, especially when a Las Plagas parasite erupts out of an infected foe’s head. That said, their actions and movement become stilted from a distance. This long-range visual hiccup doesn’t prove to be overly problematic, since most of the levels are disappointingly small in scope (as well as lacking distinctive features).
Small levels, big guns.
The bigger problem plaguing the title’s presentation revolves around the menus and navigating skill upgrades. To start, a static green grid fills the background while selecting game modes and characters. It’s ugly. Even worse, the skills (similar to perks in Call of Duty) are not convenient to access, and upgrade notifications get quickly tossed on the screen at the end of mission. Players should be notified of new skills and upgrades in real time during a mission, and then able to easily to adjust the perks between missions. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work in Mercenaries 3D.
All is not lost with the skills, however. The abilities are still addicting to level up and unlock, which adds some longevity to the game. Each character also boasts their own quirks and style of play, further enhancing the experience as players go back to missions for high scores and skill upgrades. The Mercenaries 3D can be easily beat in mere hours, but that’s not the point of this arcade action experience. Thankfully, the skills and character variety give players plenty of reasons to go back time and again.
The local and online co-op (for two players) adds another layer of depth to the title. Two players can team up to tackle the undead together through most of the 30 missions. Many will find this the definitive way to play (including myself), and the online works pretty darn well. The only quirk regards signing online initially, as an error code popped up on the first 2 or 3 attempts. After that, however, the online experience was nearly flawless, without any noticeable lag or difficulty joining and hosting missions.
Yes, the co-op works well, but there should be more to the play to completely flesh out the online portion of the title. Four-player co-op and/or a 2-vs.-2 mode seem to be missing from the list of options. The base experience works so well, especially with online co-op, that it’s hard not to want this solid foundation expanded upon and further explored. With more time, Capcom could possibly craft an astounding online experience with a future installment of The Mercenaries 3D. (Note: No one would want these features if it weren’t for the fun had in this game.)
It’s good to see you back, Claire.
Speaking of time, there are a few truly embarrassing aspects to the localization. For one, when signing online, the game tells players that you can “play against” others online. Uh, nope, that’s not true whatsoever. There is also plenty of voice over talking that doesn’t come anywhere close to matching on-screen text. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s noticeable enough to a bother.
That’s the thing about Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. None of the problems seem too large or frustrating, but together, take away from the entertaining base experience. The arcade action, variety of characters and shooting aspect all work so well that it’s disappointing to see the skill system not fully polished nor is online expanded upon further. That’s why Mercenaries 3D is merely a good game, with the future prospects of becoming great on 3DS.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.